‘Champion’: UB40 release official song for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

The track also features local rappers Dapz on the Map and Gilly G

The official anthem by UB40 features new singer Matt Doyle. Photo: Taylor J Wright
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The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has an official anthem.

Released ahead of the opening ceremony on July 28, organisers of the quadrennial sporting event tapped local heroes UB40 to compose and perform the track.

Titled Champion, the song stays true to the veteran reggae band’s sound, with its bobbing basslines and triumphant horns.

The lyrics are aspirational, with a chorus urging people to band together and seize the day: “if you've taken on the best and you've risen to the test, you could be the number one champion.”

The track also features an appearance by Birmingham rappers Dapz on the Map and Gilly G.

Champion marks the start of a new era for UB40, as the first official recording to feature new singer Matt Doyle.

The former frontman of Kioko took on the role after former vocalist Duncan Campbell retired last year after a stroke.

Campbell replaced the band's original singer and brother Ali Campbell, the vocalist behind the group's biggest hits Red Red Wine and Kingston Town, who left the group acrimoniously in 2008.

“I wish the absolute best for Duncan and I hope that he makes a full and speedy recovery,” Doyle said, while announcing his new gig.

“I have loved UB40’s music for as long as I can remember. The audience has welcomed me with love and open arms and I can’t wait to hear them singing the classics back to me.”

Champion joins a number of official Commonwealth Games theme songs released over the years.

The 2018 competition, held in the Australian city of Gold Coast, featured Welcome to Earth by Delta Goodrem.

This was the second time the Aussie singer sang an official anthem, having performed Together We Are One for the 2006 event in Melbourne, Australia.

Bollywood composer AR Rahman also got in the mix by releasing Jiyo Utho Bado Jeeto for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.

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Updated: July 17, 2022, 9:32 AM
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